We have now reached the half-way point of the FoodSmartphone project. This means that these past few days, we; meaning all of the ESR’s, our supervisors and various project partners have been taking part in the mid-term review here in Wageningen. In this review meeting, we all met with two EU representatives to discuss the progress of the overall project so far. This meeting was a great opportunity to reacquaint with my fellow ESR’s and to welcome a new member, Julian, to the FoodSmartphone family. We really only get together as a whole group usually at the annual summer-schools, so it is a great chance to catch up and update each other on our research whenever we can meet up like this. It was great to already start to plan new collaborations which will help us to go even further in our projects.
(Me and my first snake Dexter, celebrating the sunny weather last week)
I won’t pretend that it wasn’t challenging to try and squash 1.5 years’ worth of work (the duration of the midterm reporting period from the start of project to the end of 2018) into a 10 minute presentation; but doing so helped me to see just how much I have accomplished in this time-span. Even just delivering the highlights of my project so far was an important reflective experience. Even better than communicating my own results, was the opportunity to hear the progress of my fellow ESR’s. As I mentioned, we only usually meet as a group once a year, so it is quite difficult to stay up to date with everyone else’s research (alongside your own!). Every time I hear about all the cool stuff everyone else is accomplishing it refreshes my excitement for this interesting research network we are all part of. It’s amazing to think that we are all on our way to making food safety testing accessible for everybody, and approaching some nice additions to the consumer-friendly science market. To think, in the (hopefully, not so distant) future, we will be the researchers who made it possible for everyday people to test their foods for the presence of nasty food contaminants using just some simple tests and their smartphones!
(Me in Den Haag at the Quentin Blake exhibition)
As well as the mid-term review, last week I was able to take part in a half day public speaking training workshop for the 3-minute pitch competition, Famelab. Famelab is all about teaching scientists how to communicate their research effectively to non-scientists. So of course I was happy for the chance to learn how to give a consumer-friendly pitch about my consumer-friendly food allergen detection. Now if I thought a 10 minute talk was difficult, a 3 minute one is even harder! When you are giving a short pitch you need to capture the audience’s attention straight away, provide great imagery through storytelling and remain scientifically accurate – it is difficult! Especially when you are competing against 17 other talented public speakers from Wageningen University (and beyond). Even though it is a bit daunting, I look forward to being able to take part tonight and hear all of the other scientist’s pitches.
(Cool toy town buildings in Zaandam)
So that is all for now,
Until next time